Visiting Morocco has always been a dream of mine. As a textile designer, the vibrant color palette and ancient rug and tile designs have always been a huge inspiration. With all of the country’s rich artisanal history, it was the perfect place for me to experience at a relaxed pace. Once I stumbled upon the experiential retreat Unsettled, I knew this was the ideal way to experience the country.
Through this collaborative travel group, I met a group of people from around the world who share a common interest in slow travel. We were based in Marrakech, but each day was an open opportunity to explore individually or with others. The ancient Medina of Marrakech provides a fascinating backdrop to Morocco’s infamous souks (markets), riads (traditional Moroccan house), gardens, museums, and daily life. Navigating through the narrow streets where you have to swerve to avoid motorbikes also creates a certain kind of adrenaline rush! It made our trips to the desert and beyond a true breath of fresh air.
There is a plethora of things to do around the country, including but not limited to hot air balloon rides, camel treks, desert camping, skiing, and more. My highlights included a cooking class on a sustainable farm in a Berber village, a long walk through the many villages of the Atlas mountains, a coastal trip to Essaouria (which included a very spontaneous bus stop to see goats standing in trees!), and eating my way through the incredible local cuisine.
Morocco’s cuisine is earthy, warm and immensely flavorful. There is so much tradition still proudly alive today. Tagine is a great place to start; this is a well known hearty spiced lamb, chicken, or vegetable dish slowly cooked in a ceramic pot. Couscous and vegetable Harira soup are common accompaniments. Plus every day starts and ends with the ritual of sharing tea. There are many kinds – always made with fresh herbs to promote healthy digestion. It’s amazing to see how deeply the community roots still thrive today.
Guide/Tips for your visit:
Le Jardin Restaurant: An oasis in the middle of the chaotic Medina to relax and enjoy an espresso or a delicious modern Moroccan meal. So good I came back four times!
Yves Saint Laurent Museum and Le Jardin Majorelle: Small but mighty exhibit of YSL’s incredible history. The garden is a major tourist spot, but worth it!
Musée de Boucharouite: Located in a riad, this quaint rug museum gives useful insight into the traditions and patterns behind Morocco’s infamous textiles. Their rooftop is a hidden gem where you can relax in the sun with a beverage.
Nomad Restaurant: Same owner as Le Jardin, but with a slightly different menu and rooftop view of markets in the Medina. The tumeric butter roasted cauliflower with herbed couscous was one of the most memorable meals I ate the whole trip. Not to mention their eclectic array of homemade sorbets.
Essaouria: A lovely coastal town where you can ride a camel on the beach or stroll the streets for souks. Find yourself a beach cafe for an epic sunset cocktail.
Imlil, Atlas Mountains: We were lucky enough to have a native guide to walk us around the entire set of Berber villages. Our trek ended with an amazing view of the valley overlooking snow-capped mountains. I highly recommend a visit to the mountains for skiing or hiking!
Tea Master pouring fresh mint tea during our cooking class in a Berber village. They are an important part of each community, who historically also plays the role of a local wise man.
Musée des Confluences: One of the most ornate ancient riads located in the Medina with a gorgeous courtyard and tiled rooms to explore.